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tips for scoring a reservation @ per se?

Hi there - I am (naturally) desperately in need a dinner reservation for two at Per Se on March 20. I'd been calling regularly over the past month to get it, but it seems like that day was booked well in advance of the two-month window. Did I miss something? Am I missing something? Do I need some underground codeword?

Thanks!

(Incidentally, if anyone reading this happens to have reservations that day and is willing to part with them, drop me a line and I will outright compensate you for them.)

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  1. Per Se has a two month leadtime - so they would have started taking reservations for March 20th on January 20th at 10:00 a.m. EST. From the phone calls, open table bookings and limited covers, it fills up very quickly. The best way to secure a reservation is to book two months in advance or try to see if they have a cancellation for the same day on which you call. I think your best chance now is to try get wait-listed in case they have a cancellation on March 20th. People do cancel.

    Although I don't know for sure, I would wager that they do not accept "reservation transfers," since you have to give them your credit card number upon booking and there is a $150 charge if you cancel less than 72 hours ahead of time. They enter your name and phone number into their database so on subsequent visits they will "remember" you. So if you ate the French Laundry one year ago and call Per Se today, they will call up your info.

    6 Replies
    1. re: scoopG

      I agree that getting wait-listed might just work out for you. Last year my boyfriend got wait-listed for my birthday (March 28, for what it's worth). Sure enough someone canceled a day or two before and he got the call from Per Se. Needless to say, it was my most memorable birthday dinner ever.
      So get on the wait list, make a backup reservation elsewhere, and keep hope alive!

      1. re: scoopG

        Are you certain of the exactly two months to the numerical date? Because today, February 28, I did an OpenTable search and they are already booked for April 30! How can that be??

        1. re: erica

          Like many top restaurants Per Se does not place all their tables on Open Table - a percentage are held for phone calls and friends.

          1. re: livetotravel

            Exactly! For Per Se or TFL I've never, ever had any luck with open table.
            And when I ate at Per Se, I called at exactly 10:00 a.m, 60 days prior to the desired date; got through right away but was on hold for 10 minutes. Then, when the live receptionist finally answered, I was given the choice of 5:45 or 9:30 p.m. for two.

            1. re: livetotravel

              Yes but why then does OT state on the 28th that all tables are booked on April 30 and then for May 1, they say it is too far out??

              1. re: erica

                erica,
                my guess is that Per Se "gives" OT a minimal number of tables - and leaves the vast majority for telephone callers and insiders. Try using OT at 12:01 a.m. sixty days before you want a reservation at Per Se and you'll likely see it is still fully booked. That's what happened to me once. I think as already has been said, when they do have late cancellations they may inform OT so as to keep the place hopping.

        2. The problem is the table for two. I frequently see availability on opentable for tables for four (March 23 @ 9:30 pm is available). I suspect they must only allocate a handful of tables for two which are quickly snatched up. The few times I have eaten there I called exactly at 10 am on the first day of the 2 month window. The tables I was seated at could easily have fit 6 people so maybe that's why they're reluctant to book two-tops. By the way, I tried to book a table for two there for last November but forgot to call on the first day of the 2 month window; I called the next day and nothing was available.

          1. This might not help if you are looking for a specific day/time, but I've noticed recently that there have been reservations available at Per Se several times on OpenTable- usually a day or two before. We actually lucked into an 8 pm Friday reservation this way. Best of luck.

            1. My I suggest lunch. I made a resy 6 weeks prior for 2pm lunch for 2 for 3/7. I did cancel though. I called PerSe directly.

              Please let us know how you liked it :)

              1. I think I must be really really lucky. I called 2 months prior and I got through on the phone and got a reservation on my first try. It is for a Thursday night, so that might have something to do with it. I cannot wait!